Case Studies

Journal of Banking and Financial Services, October-November 2003 | Go to article overview

Case Studies


Arnold Young

The National Bank of New Zealand

* Victoria University of Wellington Bachelor of Commerce and Administration

* Undertaking Doctorate in management development

Arnold Young could easily joke that his employer, The National Bank of New Zealand, is cashing in on his doctoral studies.

The bank has agreed to fully reimburse his fees on successful completion of papers--an offer he says was too good to refuse given the fees for the doctorate--and approved study leave to sit examinations.

Young, 53, believes the bank will, in return, benefit from his studies about the phenomenon of management development. As he says, he will not only be contributing to the body of knowledge on management development but also helping NBNZ to "understand the organisational benefits of its investment in developing managers".

"The topic arose from my involvement in helping to develop a management development program for managers of NBNZ and presenting to these courses," he says. "The response of the participants was so amazingly positive that, why this was happening and how long it would last seemed worthy of study."

Young says his doctoral study is not of NBNZ but of the phenomenon of management development. However, he says the bank's program "is opportunistic as it provides me with the opportunity to have access to data that may not be as freely available to a non-employee."

"Although NBNZ did not choose the thesis topic, NBNZ will benefit by understanding the success of the program better and gain confidence that its investment is not an act of faith," he says.

Young, who is a third of the way through his doctoral studies, is forever grateful that one of his staff inquired about the bank's support to do an MBA. Whilst researching the possibilities for him, Young says he learnt of a new degree that Massey University had just introduced. He says the degree, the Doctor of Business and Administration, had a structure and orientation that appealed to him more than a PhD did.

Young was one of only five that passed the interview process and started the doctoral program at the beginning of 2002. By midway through the first semester, he says, two had dropped out because of the time commitment required and competing pressures.

Young has four papers to complete before starting the thesis. Each paper has four assignments and a five-day block course where attendance is compulsory.

"The four papers are quite pressured, as there is not much time between assignments and the pass mark for each paper is a B-plus. Ideally study should occupy at least 25 hours per week but this has not always been the case due to work pressure and family life," he says. "The key to keeping everything in balance was to be flexible."

Young, married with a young daughter, is enjoying his return to part-time studies. He last studied part-time some 25 years ago, when he completed his Bachelor of Commerce and Administration from NZ's Victoria University of Wellington in 1975.

Young started that degree full time, but economic hardship forced him to get a job and switch to part-time study. He worked for an oil company in Wellington, doing marketing, costing and budgeting work, before moving into strategic planning.

He was seconded to the Sydney office and on his return he enrolled in a MBA program. He was accepted into the program at Cranfield Institute of Technology, quit the oil company and packed his bags for England.

"I did not want to feel obligated to my employer for any support for an MBA so I chose to quit and do it out of my own funds," Young says. Having decided to do the MBA overseas, Young had to study full time because his student visa did not allow him to work.

Eighteen months later, Young returned to NZ and joined the NBNZ where he has been ever since, apart from 1996-97 when he took a two-year sabbatical and taught banking studies at Massey University. …

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